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Antisemitism (also spelled anti-Semitism) – prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage – has experienced a long history of expression since the days of ancient civilizations, with most of it having originated in the Christian and pre-Christian civilizations of Europe.
This modern antisemitism emphasized hatred of the Jews as a race and not only the Jewish religion.
One of the most famous incidents of the 19th century was the Dreyfus affair, when a French officer of Jewish origin, Alfred Dreyfus, was accused in high treason.
The trial had sparked a wave of antisemitism in France, and eventually Dreyfus was found innocent of the charges in 1906. Nevertheless, in eastern Europe religious antisemitism remained at large due to the fact that the industrial revolution less affected those areas.
On many occasions Jews were accused of the ritual murder of Christian children in what were called blood libels.
The first known blood libel was the story of William of Norwich (d.
The Protestant Reformation saw a rise of antisemitism with Martin Luther's On the Jews and Their Lies.